Springingtiger's Blog


Precious Ointment

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Today as I read my bible (still looking for a loophole) I was struck by the words of Psalm 133.

“Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious ointment upon the head that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” (Psalm 133)

I couldn’t help but reflect on how relevant the psalmist’s words remain. I have been observing the EU Referendum debate and am horrified at how facts and reason have been replaced by anger and abuse. Follow a thread on social media and see how a simple insertion of validated statistics that contradict a claim by either side is not met by counter arguments, but by insult and obscenity.

People think that after the referendum things will settle down and everyone will be friends again. There is still simmering resentment in Scotland and a refusal to forgive after the independence referendum. You may argue that that is less than two years ago, not long. The Miners Strike was thirty years ago and the wounds still have not healed. Let’s be honest in these islands we are nursing grudges that go back centuries.

Can things remain the same after a Brexit? Everyone knows Brexit will precipitate further campaigning for Scottish independence. Of more concern perhaps is the call of Sinn Fein for Brexit to lead to a vote on the reunification of Ireland, experience tells us that that argument has a way of spilling out onto the streets.

I love the image of the oil running down Aaron’s beard. Aaron the brother of Moses, the prophet revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims. And so the Israelis cut off water supplies to the West Bank during Ramadan. Muslims kill Muslims and anyone of any other tradition across Asia while Christians bomb hospitals with drones. So much for brothers dwelling together in unity.

Apparently human life began in Africa and thence spread across the globe. Geneticists tell us that one in every two hundred men is descended from Gengis Khan.The descendents of Sommerled Lord of the Isles are scarcely fewer. I doubt there is a single person alive in any country who can honestly claim that there is not an immigrant among their forebears, certainly not in Britain.

The divisions between us are all artificial, all made up. Study the mythology of any religion and you’ll find the same myths recur in other traditions. The world has natural boundaries: rivers, mountains, seas that affect the distribution of population, however every political border is an artificial construct. The barriers we raise between us arise entirely out of fear and greed and the laws that follow those barriers seek only to perpetuate division.

There is no sensible reason not to dwell together in unity. This world is abundant enough to support us all if we are willing to share. There is not a difference of opinion that cannot be discussed and subjected to logic if people are amenable to reason rather than bound by prejudice. Even if we choose to retain our rich diversity of culture and belief, and I hope we do, there is no reason why we cannot live together as neighbours sharing our planet.

I am reminded of the famous words of Hamlet, I just wish we would realise them for ourselves.

“ ‘What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel! in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals!”

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